The Agile Tribe

The Agile Journey – a Testing Experience!

on August 9, 2010

Author: Kate Ellery

It’s quite hard to believe that a couple of years ago we were thinking “what’s this new fandangle ‘Agile’ thing they’re trying to push on us?”!!! And how far we have come since. Ask anyone in the team now if they’d ever go back to traditional waterfall projects… boy, if looks could kill!

In testing, we have certainly had many challenges. And we’re still perfecting some of our processes and tools, but looking back, we have come a long way since Agile was an unknown phenomenon!

Areas of Vast Improvement

  • Testers are being involved at the start of projects, instead of coming in when the first iteration is starting;
  • Acceptance criteria is being written against user stories by the entire team (often this was written solely by our Business Analysts), ensuring a common (and accurate) understanding of each story;
  • Collaboration and communication with Business Analysts and Developers has greatly improved, with all team members taking accountability for project tasks;
  • New automated testing processes – what we are actually automating, where we are automating (UI, functional code, shared services), and the tools we use;
  • Co-location – project teams seated together to encourage active collaboration within teams, ensuring any issues or changes are communicated to all as they happen, rather than finding out about them too late down the track;
  • We find that fewer defects are logged, due to the acceptance criteria being used for unit testing – the story must pass this criteria before the card moving to ‘in testing’.

However, this does not mean that we are perfect (yet!). There are some areas where we still struggle. We find the monthly brown bag videoconference sessions with other testing teams around the company beneficial to discuss some of our issues, and learn from others’ experiences.

Areas where we still face Challenges (with a capital “C”)

  • Time – fitting all the testing tasks into each iteration; the main tasks being – test execution (system, functional, integration & regression testing across several environments), planning for the next sprint, automated testing;
  • Meetings meetings meetings!– daily stand-ups, showcases, retrospectives, planning sessions – all very important, but they all take up our “maker’s time”;
    and
  • Getting one project finished before the next starts – we have a 6 week warranty period where the project team supports any production issues, which can eat into the new project tasks.

On the whole though, we all enjoy Agile and our testing team has become a busier, but happier team who are more supportive to each other, as well as supporting other roles in and outsdie the core team. We also feel more appreciated by our team members, as there is a better understanding of what each role does within each project which has resulted in a greater respect for each other as well.

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3 responses to “The Agile Journey – a Testing Experience!

  1. Jean D'Souza says:

    Very Informative Article. A realistic picture of the impact of Agile on the testers in V-Tech.

    Great Contribution. A must read for all testers.

  2. Dave Thompson says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything Kate has said, and what Jean said, too.

  3. Vish Chary says:

    I strongly agree with what Kate has said. We have also been using Story Walls very effectively that improved visibility on project’s progress and the issues faced.

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